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The Secret of Santa Vittoria: A Novel

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  587 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
In the last days of World War II, German forces are sent to occupy the Italian hill town, Santa Vittoria, and claim its great treasure: one million bottles of the Santa Vittoria wine that is its lifeblood. The clownish mayor, Bombolini, matches wits with the urbane German captain, Von Prum, as the town unites -- aristocrats and peasants, old enemies and young lovers -- to ...more
ebook, 447 pages
Published August 20th 2013 by Sarah Crichton Books (first published 1966)
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Özgür Daş
Nikos Kazantzakis 'in Zorba'sı ve Robert Crichton'un Kasabanın Sırrı kitaplarının ortak noktaları uyarlanan filmlerinde baş karakterleri oynayan kişinin Anthony Quinn olması. Quinn'in filmlerdeki varlığı, iki kitap için de yararlı bir imge sağlıyor okurken (Hele bir de Quinn'in oyunculuğunun hayranıysanız). Sinemaya uyarlamaları yapılan eserleri sevenler için Kasabanın Sırrı, kitap+film şeklinde yapılarak keyfi iki katına çıkarabilen eserlerden. Kitapla film arasında bazı farklılıklar olsa d ...more
Noel
Jun 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After visiting some of the hilltowns in Tuscany, I wondered what it would have been like to live through WWII there. Based on a true story and the author 's personal experience, the book clearly told the story of one small village and their ordeal. It was light and humorous, insightful and introspective, and the narrator was excellent! In my mind I placed the book in Montepulciano, the heart of wine making country and a town with many of the same characteristics as the one in the book. The chara ...more
Amanda
Feb 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
For many years, this was my favorite book. A beautiful, comical story of a very small town in the mountains of Italy in WWII, the book features some unforgettable characters and one of the best prologues I can remember. It will make you laugh, cry and rejoice at the resiliency of the human spirit.
Voracious
Aug 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WOW. Reading this was a bit like reading the Guernsey Potato Peel Pie Society, and a bit like watching the 1953 movie Wages of Fear. Exciting, moving, funny, wise...and shocking, too.

I have to admit it took me about 100 pages to really get into it, but then I couldn't put it down.
Malabaricus
Sep 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book when I was 16 and it was the only book that made me laugh out loud. I just loved it! What a pity Robert Crichton wrote only two books.
Cari
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hidden away with my family’s things, my nonno mentioned I may enjoy this book. He knows me well. Come to find out this book was a NY Best Selling book in its day. It’s funny, it’s witty, and loved the storyline. Once again, another WWII book (I seem not to be able to escape this genre), but in this case, it’s a humourous tale of how entire Italian town tricked the Germans occupying it by hiding their prized wines.

My grandfather also mentioned it became a movie. Now I’m off to find it because I’
...more
Shelly - The Illustrated Librarian -
I read this book for the Wine Store Book Club I moderate for my library. I would not have read it otherwise, in spite of the fact
that I chose the book as a selection for the club. The plot sounded amusing. A small wine-making village in the hills of Italy tries to hide close to one million bottles of wine from the occupying Nazis. Amusing isn't quite the word I used once I finished the book.

The story takes place near the end of WWII, just after Mussolini is executed. The Germans are occupying
...more
Blaine DeSantis
Really torn on this book, as I remember the movie that was made from this - a movie that was a huge box office disappointment! Maybe it is because I am Italian, maybe it is because the sites in the book all come from the region of my ancestry - Le Marche on the Adriatic Coast - and maybe it is because of the fact that this is an older book based on WW2. I wanted to like the book that is sort of classified as a comedy but at the same time there are vast parts of this book that deal with the horro ...more
Scoats
Jul 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. There is so much to like about this book.

It starts off a little dry and old school. After a few chapters it hits its stride though.
Well developed characters and great pacing. Surprising suspenseful. Machiavelli is worked well into the story.

Not that I have anything to go on, but it feels that this book captured what a small hillside Italian town was like back in the 1940s.

One thing that really disappoints me after finishing it is that book isn't as real as the introduction or parts of t
...more
Aaron
Apr 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A bumbling, hilarious, over-the-top and pitch perfect gem of a read. The story of a small town in Italy that goes to extraordinary lengths to protect it's wine- the purpose of the town's (and it's inhabitants) very existence- during a German occupation towards the end of World War II. Laugh out loud funny. Hard to find, but if you can, it's absolutely worth getting.
D.
Oct 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this. The characters were so vivid and it totally transported me to another place and time. Even though the story took place during WWII it was a very different story from most WWII books. Unique and endearing.
Spook
Mar 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A second world war story about the Germans taking over a small Italian wine growing town. Beautifully told and a great insight into the peasant mind when they hide the wine and refuse to tell it's location. Full of humour, love, courage, cruelty, honour and cowardice. A must read story.
Anthony Orso
Nov 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read this a few times and have always enjoyed the tale. Great character development, a great plot and well written.
Ellen
Jul 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: humor, Italy
I really enjoyed this book. I read it when it was first released, and had a lot of fun. There's a lot of humor in this book and for anyone who likes Italy and Italians it's a really fun read.
Melissa Tea
Mar 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved, loved, loved this book. Storytelling at it's best.
Jana
Sep 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Being an Italian myslef, I absolutely LOVED this book! Thanks to my mom for recommending it!
Tom
Nov 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book. Best novel I've read in a long time. There's plenty of humor early on, but as the end comes (and the SS) the fun ends. It rings true from beginning to end.
Mizmuzikmama Musiker
Old book but one of the most memorable I've read. Italy, wine, comedy, suspense, it has it all!
Klára
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Knihu mi doporučil a půjčil táta mého kamaráda, stejně jako pár knih předtím. Motivací ke čtení bylo společné téma, kterých bylo vždy pomálu, ovšem pak se kniha četla sama. Malá vesnice Santa Vittoria existuje daleko od všech problémů probíhající války, je jí jedno, kdo zrovna je u moci. Samozřejmě dokud nezačne být v ohrožení to nejcennější, co ve vesnici lze nalézt- víno. A tak se obyvatelé musejí spojit, aby ukryly milion láhví nejlepšího vína před německými vojáky, jejichž velitel se rozhodl ...more
Jim B
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A highly entertaining story with tightly written use of details.

2015 Reread: I remember enjoying this novel so much, and lately I've done a lot of mysteries and books for work, so I decided to do something I rarely do with novels -- I read this a second time after over 20 years. The story was new to me, after so many years. The writing was still so entertaining that I had no trouble looking forward to picking up the book, and even sneaking in extra reading time. Bombolini the Mayor of Santa Vitt
...more
J Godwin
Jan 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Why am I limited to 5 stars? I give this book 10 stars. Maybe 11! It has something for...literally...everyone.

Drama
History and war
Tension/conflict
Scenery/descriptive prose
Wit and self-effacing humor
Morals and consequences
Heartbreak beyond tears
and Thunderbolt love.

And hilarious stereotypes! Although if I were German or Italian, I'm sure I would be incensed and insulted. Yet on the other hand, the stereotypes were mostly assumed by the characters (even by themselves) and then later proved...well,
...more
Angela
Jan 07, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting story about the German occupation of a small Italian village during WW II . The people of Santa Vittoria have a stockpile of one million bottles of wine that is produced in their village and is of the highest quality. Their wine production is a source of pride, and their ability to keep the Germans from stealing it is the challenge of this story. I enjoyed the rich descriptions of the Italian character and tempermant and watching the clever ways the Italians strung along ...more
Jamie
Feb 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just loved reading this book, and do so from time to time again when the need arises. It's a WWII story unlike any other I've ever come across. Definitely dealing with the heartache of the era, but also such humor and touching characters and townspeople... reminiscent to me of the movie "Life is Beautiful". Not in story line, to be clear, but in essence.
Csilness
Sep 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A charming read. Have been recommending it to my wine loving friends.
Michelle von Knorring
One of the best stories ever told!
Lesley
Jun 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read this book in high school back in the early 70s. I remembered really enjoying it, and I am glad I re-read this again!
Gerard
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The mayor of the humble wine-growing town of Santa Vittoria must find a way to protect his people’s wine cellar (and livelihoods) during the German occupation of Italy. A plot-driven comedy with almost masterful story-crafting. The plot is close to perfect. In fact, the middle part of the book is exemplary in its construction of tension. There are two flaws in the story. The beginning is slow and could have been improved by introducing Captain Von Prum and thus the threat of the Germans earlier. ...more
Ulysses
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-reread
This story of a vast high-stakes joke played by a small Italian town on their German occupiers in World War II is quite the page-turner. The peasants draw time and again from their well of simple but effective tricks to stay one step ahead of the cruel, overconfident German captain who is certain his superior intellect will defeat them-- and each time, their ruses comes within inches of being undone by overlooked mistakes or new complications, requiring ever greater reserves of ingenuity (and ev ...more
Donna R
Jul 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war, europe
I am reading novels adapted to movies/plays in which Anthony Quinn starred. The movie based on this novel was released in 1969.

Set in Italian mountain town after the fall of Mussolini, this is a WW11 story with a difference. Great characters, compelling story skillfuly balancing humour and pathos.

Italo Bombollini (Quinn) is viewed by the citizens of Santa Vittoria as a clown, a buffoon, ridiculed by many (including his wife). Yet when times called for a person of particular leadership skills up

...more
itpdx
Dec 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommended to me when I asked for books that would give me an idea of what it was like in Italy during WWII. The story is set in a small, isolated hill town in the north of Italy. The town revolves around its vineyards and the wine. The story has a cast of delightful characters. The main character, Bombolini, a clown from Sicily, accidentally becomes mayor when Mussolini abdicates and before the Germans arrive. The town decides to try of hide two years worth of wine from the Germa ...more
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Crichton was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and grew up in Bronxville, New York.[1] He served in the infantry during World War II, and was wounded during the Battle of the Bulge in 1944. Before returning to the States, he ran an ice cream factory on the outskirts of Paris; it was, he said, his decompression chamber. He attended Harvard University on the GI Bill and was a member of the famed clas ...more
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“The duty of the people is to tend to their own affairs.
The duty of government is to help them do it.
This is the pasta of politics.
The inspired leader, the true prince, no matter how great, can only be sauce upon the pasta.
--Bombolini”
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“The story is the same, over and over, only the facts are different and the names and the places.” 5 likes
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